Staff Favorites - Gary Westby

Gary Westby
Gary Westby  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
I started at K&L in February of 2000, after 4 years of working down the street for another retailer, and although I take care of the Champagne buying here at K&L, I love to drink wine from all over the world. I prize authenticity in wine, and love representative examples of many different styles, whether it is a spicy dry creek zinfandel or a mineral driven Manzanilla. I almost always drink my wine with food, and am drawn to food wines rather than the softer styles that are good for drinking on their own. My wife Cinnamon and I cook a lot of Italian & French food at home, and my list of wines reflects those food choices. I also love value, at every price point, and can't stand "prestige" labels that under deliver in the bottle. I love honest wines for the table. If you love good wine to go with your good cooking too, I think that by joining my personal Sommelier list you will be treated to a wide variety of wines that represent a strong value for money at what ever price range you feel comfortable with. Give it a try!


Reviews

  
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Taittinger "La Francaise" Brut Champagne Jeroboam (3L)
Review Date: 11-27-2016
Taittinger has always been known for the creamy refreshment that the La Francaise has delivered so consistently through the years. If you like a little bit of toast balanced by some citric zing, this high Chardonnay blend is for you! (6/2015)
Price: $229.00 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

Taittinger "La Francaise" Brut Champagne Methuselah (6L)
Review Date: 11-27-2016
Taittinger has always been known for the creamy refreshment that the La Francaise has delivered so consistently through the years. If you like a little bit of toast balanced by some citric zing, this high Chardonnay blend is for you! (6/2015)
Price: $499.00 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

2008 Baron Fuente "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-22-2016
This is a very special bottle of vintage Champagne. For many years now, the Baron Fuente Millesime has been one of the greatest values in the entire category. The 2008 is certainly the very best vintage we have had from them yet... Even better than the great 1996! Like past vintages, this has great richness and toast from a nice long rest on the lees, and fine power from their great estate vineyards. The great 2008 vintage has added an electric length and profound minerality to this wine that is rare in Champagne at any price, and almost unheard of at this price! Take a case... You won't regret it!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 11-10-2016
This super refreshing, clean Rioja blanco is perfect for fans of Sauvignon Blanc. While it is has flavors that are a little bit more exotic than your standard SB, it has the same snappy freshness that folks love from Sancerre to Napa. Take advantage of this great direct import buy, your friends will guess that you spent twice as much!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-10-2016
I can't think of a bottle of red wine under $20 that can compete with the Vitola from Miguel Merino. It has plenty of rich, dark fruit, is framed very nicely with a touch of vanilla oak, and finishes with great lift. This wine has great body and texture, and will be great with any number of meaty dishes, or just to drink after work. If you haven't had a Spanish wine in a while, try it! If you know you like Rioja, don't hesitate and take a case before it is gone!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 11-10-2016
This is a delicious, well balanced value from Rioja. If you like medium to full bodied reds with great freshness and balance as well as texture and dark fruit, you will fall in love with the Vinas Jovenes from Miguel Merino. This will go perfectly with casual burgers or even by itself!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2007 Michel Arnould "Cuvee B50" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-03-2016
This ambitious all barrel-fermented Champagne is only available in tiny quantities—we received less than 10 cases and we are his US importer! If you are looking for a powerful, ultra-rare bottle, you have found it! Look for vanilla and hazelnut as well as brioche on the nose, and incisive, dry minerality on the back end.
Price: $99.00 Add To Cart

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-25-2016
This is the best-selling Champagne in the USA.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 WS 90

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne Jeroboam (3L)
Review Date: 09-25-2016
This is the best-selling Champagne in the USA.

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 09-24-2016
Of all the grand marques, no one offers a cleaner, purer example of Champagne fruit and refreshment than Billecart-Salmon. The Billecart family pick earlier than most, and run the coldest, longest fermentations in all of Champagne to deliver their inimitable, graceful house style. If you are looking for the ultimate in balance aperitif Champagne, you have found it!

2010 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-21-2016
All of Champagne Louis Roederer's vintage wines are in essence separate estate wines, and the rose might be the most spectacular of them all. It is composed of 62% Pinot Noir from Cumieres, the earliest ripening premier cru for that grape variety. The steep south-facing amphitheater that these grapes come from allow for full maceration of all the skins with all the juice, a real trick this far north since one bad bunch can ruin a whole tank. The wine is then blended with 38% Chardonnay from very cool sites in the Grand Cru of Chouilly. This combination gives the wine not only the generous, clean, strawberry fruit of a ripe rose, but also incredible chalky precision and a racy, dry finish. This is classy stuff!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2015 Centovigne "Della Motta" Rosso
Review Date: 09-21-2016
For me, this is the best value in Nebbiolo in the whole store. The Della Motta is composed of 80% Nebbiolo, and 20% the super rare Vespolina. While it is open and fragrant, and ready to drink at only one year old, it still has a lovely backbone that is all Piemonte! I was lucky enough to try this great bottle of Italian red in Champagne of all places! The hottest restaurant in Reims, Racine, poured it by the glass and Cinnamon and I enjoyed it with guinea fowl. We didn't even wait to get back and sent Greg a picture the very same night! He found it, tasted it, and the rest is history.
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2008 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2016
The 2008 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne, their “classic” vintage, comes from 23 acres of estate vineyard. It is composed of 70% Pinot Noir from the Grand Cru of Verzenay and 30% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru of Avize. This Champagne has nutty flavors aromas and flavors that remind me of the chestnuts that they sell on the street in Alba in the truffle season braced by chalky acidity that gives the wine the kind of length that I can feel all the way in the back of my head. This wine is going to be a legend--it tastes fantastic now, and should cellar for as long as you can keep your hands off of it. This is spectacular vintage Champagne, and will provide a generation of enjoyment. No doubt you will be able to laugh about what a good deal it was years from now… If you don’t drink it all this year!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2004 Bollinger "La Grande Année" Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
Perhaps the most complex wine of the whole staff summit was the 2004 Bollinger "La Grande Année" Rosé Champagne. While Lilly Bollinger refused to make rose at the property during her lifetime, calling it “Champagne for prostitutes” this ultimately classy bottle proves that even the greats of the Champagne world could get it wrong from time to time. The wine has a lovely copper pink color and a beguiling bouquet of savory black truffle, brioche and subtle Corton like dark fruit. On the palate the wine is not nearly as vinous as the Grand Année blanc, and has an amazingly tiny bead. What a treat.
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2005 Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
The most decadent bottle of the whole staff summit was the 2005 Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne. This blend of 11 crus is composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and aged for 8 years on the lees. It is loaded with buttered toast aromas and is deep, rich and broad. The bead is very precise and fine while the wine itself is full bodied. If you love the full English style of Champagne, this is the best bottle in the store!

2006 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
The most meticulously prepared of all of the presentations at this years big staff summit was Champagne Laurent-Perrier, and after the tasting and talk I was left with a new appreciation for the history and commitment to quality at this great house in Tours-sur-Marne. I loved the 2006 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne for its laid back balance and excellent texture. It is composed of half each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir entirely from Grand Cru sites and aged for eight years on the lees. If you like your Champagne with a great balance between Meyer lemon zing and creamy richness, this has it all.
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
Our final appointment of this year’s summit was with Taittinger, and the 2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne was the perfect bottle to perk up tired mouths. I found the limey, Puligny-like drive of this Champagne compelling and refreshing, and was happy to see this vintage living up to the legend of the Comtes de Champagne. This all Cote de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne is sourced from primarily estate vineyards in Avize, Chouilly, Oger and Mesnil. It is 95% fermented in stainless, but sees 5% small oak to add richness. The combination of toast from 8 years on the lees and lime zest from the top Chardonnay make for an exotic, yet elegant beauty of a Champagne.
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2006 Charles Ellner "Séduction" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
This vintage Champagne gem comes entirely from the Ellner estate: 60% Chardonnay from the Grand Crus of Avize and Chouilly and 40% Pinot Noir from the 1er Cru of Tauxieres. Like all of the Ellner wines, this Seduction has not gone through malolactic fermentation, and as such has very good zip and drive even though it is from quite a ripe vintage. The long, eight year sur-lie aging process has given this wine the classic brioche aromas and fine texture that we want in the best of vintages Champagne.
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

Gosset "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
We were very lucky to have Gosset export director Bertrand Verduzier come from Epernay to present his Champagne at the summit this year, and we learned a ton about this very old grand marque. Their flag ship wine is the Gosset "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne, and it is an exceptional wine. The current batch is composed of 43% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir and 15% Meunier with 20% reserves that are blended in the solera style. They never do any malolactic fermentation for this wine, and as such need to age it for a minimum of 4 years on the lees before disgorgement. It has an almost green color in the glass, and has a great tension between opulent toast and chalky, nearly apple like crunch. If you like this Champagne, be sure to put some in the cellar, I have had them going back 30 years and they are spectacular with age as well as young!

2008 Ayala Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
The historic Ay property Ayala has made quite a comeback since Bollinger purchased and invested in so many upgrades. While they are from a Pinot Noir town, they have always been famous for their Chardonnay driven, lighter style that contrasts with their sister property Bollinger. Their 2008 Ayala Blanc de Blancs Champagne was the star of the lineup for me, and is sourced exclusively from the Grand Crus of Mesnil and Chouilly. While this Champagne has the great chalky drive of the 2008 vintage, I was surprised by how open it showed. I love the creamy, nearly brie like nose that is framed by high quality toast and the medium to full bodied texture. This should last- it you can keep your hands off of it!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $84.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

Drappier "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
The best non-vintage of our whole Champagne summit was the Drappier "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne. That is saying a lot, since we tasted so many greats! This combination of 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier and 10% Chardonnay is made with the lowest sulfur counts of any grand marque Champagne. The fruit for this is all from the Aube and Kimmeridgian clay rather than the chalk of the Marne. It is also mostly estate grown. This gives Champagne not only with the lovely red fruit expression one would expect from so much Pinot, but also layers of nearly Chablis like minerality. If you like dry, yet full flavored Champagne, you it to yourself to try the Drappier!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2006 Pol Roger "Extra Cuvée de Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
It is no surprise that at 10 years old, many of the 2006 Champagnes are really starting to show well. The best I tasted at this year’s staff summit was the 2006 Pol Roger "Extra Cuvée de Réserve" Brut. This is one of the most masculine, vinous, broad and powerful Champagnes of the day. It is composed of about 60% Pinot Noir to 40% Chardonnay, but that Pinot is powerful Mountain of Reims Grand and 1er cru stuff… And it shows! I loved the big, hazelnut and black cherry savor in this rich, yet very dry Champagne. This will be a top recommendation for anyone married in 2006 or with a child born in this year, because while it drinks well now, it will be great for a long, long time.
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2009 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
For many years now, Champagne Louis Roederer has been leading the way in progressive practices in the vineyard in the region. This approach showed in the wines at this year’s staff summit, and in a quite spectacular way. The wines of Roederer really have a shine to them, and the soon to be released 2009 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne exemplifies this luminescent style. Roederer has been the largest organic vineyard owner in Champagne for many years, and this is the first year that Critstal has been made exclusively from these organic, mid slope, pure chalk sites. The ripe vintage of 2009 has made for a precocious wine that is already showing much more aroma and giving much more pleasure than Cristal normally does when first released. That being said, this is a chalky, complex, detailed Champagne that has decades and decades of time to shine!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2016
I was lucky enough to drink this with Krug's CEO, Margareth Henriquez. Margareth explained the new codes on the backs of the bottles, that allow the Champagne lover to learn the disgorgement date, year of the base harvest of the wine as well as the number of vintages blended in and the oldest of them. She was far too modest about this new feature, as it reverses the secretiveness for which Krug has long been known. Now, thanks to her influence, Krug is one of the most transparent houses. Our bottle was Krug at its toasty, extroverted best, with plenty of buttery brioche and mid-palate weight. It also had zing and acidity, and showed attractive aspects of both youth and maturity.

2008 Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2016
The 2008 vintage has rightly been hailed as a great one in Champagne, and this Veuve Clicquot Rose is a great example of this fantastic harvest. I drank this with Mr. DeMarville, chef de cave of Clicquot, paired with a long roasted chicken at Town in San Carlos- what an experience! The wine has incredible power and a nearly Burgundian savor to it which was very satisfying with the food. It also has the clarity and lift of the highest acid vintage since 1996. This is a wine for the ages... But it will be very difficult to keep my hands off of now!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $84.99 Add To Cart

2004 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2016
Our first appointment of our 2016 staff Champagne summit was with Champagnes oldest house- Ruinart, which was founded way back in 1729. They have been shipping Champagne for 47 years more than we have been a country! I thought that their 2004 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne stood out. It is composed of all Grand Cru Chardonnay with 69% sourced from the Cotes de Blancs and the balance sourced from Sillery and Puisieulx, two sites on the north face of the Mountain of Reims. With ten years of ageing on the lees, the wine has wonderful vanilla cake dough richness, but is still vibrant and fresh. The characteristic chalky drive of the classic 2004 vintage makes for a long, bright finish, and this wine should continue to improve for decades. Unlike many big names, their vintage program, which this Blanc de Blanc is just one part of, represents only 1% of their production. The high degree of selection really shows!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

1995 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2016
At our staff Champagne summit we were fortunate enough to taste the 1995 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Rosé Champagne which they have held back for 9 more years in the cellar than the current “P1” release of 2004. It still had the signature DP yeastiness, but after 21 years of ageing in perfect conditions, the savory, complex smokiness and delicate red fruit were in perfect harmony with the lees character. It was one of the most elegant, delicate and long finishing Champagnes of the whole day.
Price: $799.00 Add To Cart
VN 95

2006 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Magnum (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-08-2016
The 2006 Launois Special Club is a standout Champagne, made from two old, massal selected Grand Cru plots on the Launois estate. The first plot is the Chenets in the mid slope of Oger, very close to the Belles Voyes of Bonville fame. This site was planted back in 1947, just after the 2nd world war. The other plot they refer to simply as Cramant, from the grand cru of the same name and was planted in 1952. The nose reminds me of chanterelle mushrooms in cream and brioche, and the impression on the palate is both decadent and powerful. I think this is an easy Champagne to compare to the Comtes from Taittinger, but with more back end drive and chalky sparkle. This drinks great now, and bottles from the sixties are still going strong!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

Louis Brochet 1er Cru Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-12-2016
Line up the oysters, order the sushi and fire the scallops! This is our ultimate extra brut for matching with seafood. Many extra bruts are just plain mean spirited and screechy, but the Brochet is steely dry without going over the edge. At this price, I will always be able to have one in my fridge!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
This is Champagne of masterful balance, and certainly defies its reasonable price with its elegance. Cinnamon and I shared this with her mother Margaret the night before last, and while it has the black cherry of Ay, it is not as powerful or obvious as most of the wines from that village. It ended up coming very close to our three person fridge to recycling bin record!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Gutierrez Colosia Fino El Puerto de Santa María
Review Date: 08-04-2016
When Cinnamon served this fantastic Puerto Fino as a strarter with homemade gazpacho, I nearly did not make it to the main course! The frenetic energy of this Sherry was married to kaleidoscopic complexity... To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I had a hard time putting the bottle back in the fridge!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

Launois "Quartz" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
We can never get enough Launois Quartz at K&L. Unfortunately; the production is limited as Bernard Launois only has so many grapes each year in the great Mesnil plot of Les Chetillons. Having access to single vineyard, estate, grand cru Champagne from one of the best growers in the region at such a fair price makes me proud to be the Champagne guy at K&L. This wine has a fabulous white fruit quality that few Champagnes get at any price, and a chalky laser beam finish that is pure Mesnil. No Champagne we carry sells out faster.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
If you are a fan of Champagne and haven't had the Launois Cuvee Reserve, you should not wait any longer. All grand cru, estate grown Champagne doesn't get better than this, but it is almost always more expensive. This is a wine of depth, finesse and intrigue and yet is about as easy as it gets to drink without engaging the grey matter at all. When we get it, it is always snapped up in a hurry... Don't wait and get disappointed!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2006 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 08-04-2016
The 2006 Launois Special Club is a standout Champagne, made from two old, massal selected Grand Cru plots on the Launois estate. The first plot is the Chenets in the mid slope of Oger, very close to the Belles Voyes of Bonville fame. This site was planted back in 1947, just after the 2nd world war. The other plot they refer to simply as Cramant, from the grand cru of the same name and was planted in 1952. The nose reminds me of chanterelle mushrooms in cream and brioche, and the impression on the palate is both decadent and powerful. I think this is an easy Champagne to compare to the Comtes from Taittinger, but with more back end drive and chalky sparkle. This drinks great now, and bottles from the sixties are still going strong!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Launois "Veuve Clemence" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
This is the "insiders" Launois, and most of what we can get sells very quickly to people who have visited the property in Mesnil. This comes from the tops and bottoms of the slopes in the grand crus of Mesnil, Cramant and Oger, and is aged for an extra year compared to the reserve. This has classic chalky drive and length, with more than a little complexity. Don't get hooked- we never get much and it always goes fast!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Veuve Clicquot "Rich" Doux Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
We got a huge laugh of the frivolity of drinking this Champagne in ice filled goblets with cucumber after closing the store last night. It was the opposite of the intellectually engaged, notebooks out studiousness of most of our tasting here at K&L. Best of all, the wine tasted good. I had recently been by the Niyija Market in Mountain View and bought some very nice Japanese cucumbers, so I packed up my cutting board and my Nakiri to prep them after closing. I put two thin slices at the bottom of each goblet, loaded the goblets with ice, poured in the Champagne, through another cucumber slice in and decorated the rim with one more. That was all there was to it!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2013 Chateau de la Noblesse Bandol
Review Date: 08-02-2016
I can't wait to get this fantastic Mourvedre-based red home and serve it with some merguez sausage and frites! This wine manages a great trick of having big, savory flavors without being dirty or too heavy and hot. The balance was striking, as was the purity, acidity and length. If you are looking for the taste of the south without the high octane thwack, this Chateau De La Noblesse is sure to please.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Domaine d'Albas" Minervois Rosé
Review Date: 08-02-2016
Our best rosé under $15! The Chateau Saint Jacques D'Albas has that gorgeous, haunting strawberry fruit that only the south of France can deliver, and the refreshing zip to balance it out. Be warned: this stuff goes down far to easily, and while it is not high in alcohol, it can get you into trouble if you don't watch out!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2010 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "La Chapelle d'Albas" Minervois
Review Date: 08-02-2016
If you love northern Rhone, but can't stand the quickly escalating prices, this Chateau Saint Jacques could be the wine for you. It is loaded with pepper and ripe, but not overripe, blue fruit. It also has good structure with equally vivacious acidity and fine grained tannin. Best of all, they have given this wine the extra time in bottle that it needs to show well today. This deserves your best garlic studded, rosy grilled leg of lamb!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2015 Chateau de la Noblesse Bandol Rosé
Review Date: 08-02-2016
This is like a trip to Sainte Tropez in a bottle and I am so pleased to have such a great Bandol Rose in stock at such a good price! Thanks so much to Mr. Keith Mabry for scouring Provence and to the strength of the dollar... This has all of the expensive aroma, flavor and texture that one would expect on the finest terrace of the Riviera. I love the perfect strawberry fruit and the dry, long, focused finish.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Fabien Trosset Mondeuse "Avalanche" Vin de Savoie-Arbin
Review Date: 08-02-2016
This dark red has all of the flavor of "big" red without the thickness, excessive alcohol or tannin. I was instantly charmed by its spicy dark fruit and clean refreshing finish. I can't wait to pop this open for my next fondue or raclette party for folks who want red wine!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2009 Louis Brochet "Millésimé" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-29-2016
If you enjoyed the clean, ripe 1990 vintage in Champagne, 2009 is almost a repeat. This Pinot powered gem from the picturesque 1er cru of Ecueil has plenty of richness and concentration, as well as texture that only over six years on the lees will bring.
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 S.C. Pannell "Arido" Rosé Adelaide Hills
Review Date: 07-27-2016
After 20 years in the wine business, I should learn not to be so prejudiced, but there is something about New World rosé that almost always leaves me cold. This Arido from Pannell broke that prejudice, and I have to wonder if it is the magic of the Meunier in the blend that won me over. After tasting it yesterday, I am bringing home a bottle tonight to go with my salad composé! This has both solid strawberry fruit and bright refreshment going for it. It is all mine for a price that makes it competitive with my beloved provençal pink!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 93

Brasserie Lebbe "L'Amalthee" Saison, France (750ml)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
France is not famous for its beer, but this Basque beauty is worthy of your attention! This has depth and intrigue, but not at at the expense of moreish refreshment. A 750ml of this goes down quite quickly. I have a question: why does the best beer in France have to come from the opposite side of the country to Champagne? I would love to see just one tap handle of this in Epernay... I would become a fixture in that bar!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

Orval Trappist Ale, Belgium (11.2 oz)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
As a young wine professional I often yearned for a complex drink when I didn't have the money to afford it. At times like that, I always turned to Orval, a beer that provides an experience akin to 1er Cru Burgundy, but at a price that I could easily afford even when rent was due. Somehow the monks manage to combine great lift, refreshment and ease of drinking with serious layers of savory complexity. The look of the stuff in the glass is worth the price of admission on its own... The Belgian lace this ale throws always takes longer than I want to wait to come down in the glass low enough for me to have a sip!
Price: $5.99 Add To Cart
WE 96

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lager, Germany (500ml)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
I hate flavored beer. This is the exception that proves the rule- a subtle, smoky lager that reminds me of a smoked sausage combined with the right beer to wash it down. If you want something a little different, but don't need guava, lemon grass or sauterne barrels in your beer, check this out!
Price: $4.49 Add To Cart

Anchor Brewing "Anchor Steam" Ale, California (12oz)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
I can't think of a beverage that I have had a longer and better relationship with that San Francisco's great Anchor Steam. This is the golden states great contribution to the beer lovers of the world- made at ale temperatures in shallow, open concrete vats with lager yeast. This is a beer of impeccable balance, and even though I must have had more than a thousand of them by now, it never gets old. This is the kind of beer that real beer drinkers love- it is not a box to check, it is something to buy a case of. Whenever I have visitors from Champagne, I often offer them an Anchor Steam before diving into Mount Eden Chardonnay and Ridge Monte Bello. It is that good.
Top Value!
Price: $1.69 Add To Cart

2013 Tenuta Novare Valpolicella Ripasso
Review Date: 07-13-2016
If you love Amarone, but don't want to spend $50, this is a must try. This rich, full bodied wine has the power and persistence of a bottle twice its price, and will be perfect with everything from lasagna to osso buco!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Felsina Chianti Classico
Review Date: 07-13-2016
If you like Italian wine with the inimitable, original flavors of the Tuscan hills, this fantastic Chianti Classico is for you. I can't wait for my next grilled pork chop and polenta dinner... This wine is going to be perfect with it! The Felsina has the classic nose of Sangiovese- it is hard for me to tell where the cherries end and the leather begins! It also has that perfect medium bodied texture- not to heavy, but not at all weak. I think the best feature of the wine is the finish- long and elegant. Time to fire up the coals and decant one!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

Lustau Almacenista Oloroso "Pata de Gallina" (500ml)
Review Date: 06-28-2016
A bottle of Pata De Gallina and a plate of Cotswold, Cheddar and Stilton lead me into predation every time. I pour a big glass, put the bottle back in the cellar and close the door; otherwise I will be powerless against its charms and pour another. Then I go back to the cellar... It is the tang and zip of this bone dry wine that make it so moreish, while the scale, richness and complexity make it beguiling. What a wine!

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